Highly efficient concentrated solar power materials


The IN POWER project aims at developing highly efficient concentrated solar power architectures such as innovative material solutions to increase the efficiency while simultaneously decreasing the energy production cost. Concretely, the project develops glass free mirrors, lighter mirror structures using composite materials, new absorber materials to convert light into heat as well as better energy storage materials allowing electricity dispatch for 24 hours.  The project will validate these novel functional materials and new manufacturing processes will guarantee decrease in levelized costs of electricity below 0.10€ kWh beyond 2020.

Usually, mirrors used in concentrated solar power (CSP) plants use glass and metal foils as substrates, which are heavy, delicate, and expensive components. One of the main problems during the installation of such renewable energy generation plants is the high number of broken mirrors. For this reason, IN POWER mirrors will be free of glass and develop different geometries. Among this, the high reflective mirrors have self-healing and anti-soiling coatings that reduce O&M issues due to its high robustness and reduction in dust deposition. Thanks to improved Thermal Storage Materials (TSM) depending on the Heat Transfer Fluid (HTF), IN POWER is expected to decrease the size of the thermal storage systems and the used land while having the identical low associated environmental impact.

The scaled-up mirrors are under manufacturing process and will be installed in Sevilla (MAGTEL, LFC pilot line). The manufacture process has been defined and optimized production processing parameter are in progress. Hundreds of non-glassy mirrors will be ready to be installed in pilot plant in Sevilla, Spain. In the same site, developed antisoiling coatings and selected light composite will be testing in photovoltaic loop for validation. On the other hand, dozens of tubes with new absorber coatings are under manufacturing process. Two types of coatings will be validated. Next weeks high absorber tubes for high temperature regime will be send to ENEA (Casaccia, Italy) for their validation in real conditions. Also, high absorber tubes, but for medium temperature regime, will be send to Sevilla.

Finally, ENEA and CEA-Liten partners are making testing activities of new thermal storage materials.  It is important to remark that IN POWER activities follow current standards decreasing potential barriers for future market introduction. Last, the first Life Cycle Assessment with baseline CSP plants and reference materials have been done and a new one with IN POWER materials is in progress.

During the last year, the consortium will continue to work on the scaling up and validation of new materials and their combination in components. During these developments several factors will be considered: optimal performance, design for manufacturing assembly, cost of materials and production as well as environmental issues. Last, the selected model for cost evaluation will be used to estimate the cost of each development.

IN POWER is led by Leitat and includes nine project partners: Fertiberia (Spain), Magtel (Spain), ENEA (Italy), GEOCAD (Spain), Votteler (Germany), Kolzer (Italy), Tekniker (Spain), CEA (France) and Nematia (Spain).